Ryan denies he is considering presidential run

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks during a listening session April 26, 2011, at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wis. AP Photo

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks during a listening session April 26, 2011, at Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Wis.
AP Photo
Rep. Paul Ryan on Tuesday shot down a report in an influential conservative publication that he may jump into the 2012 race for the White House.

"While grateful for the continued support and encouragement, Congressman Ryan has not changed his mind," Ryan spokesman Kevin Seifert told CBS News when asked about the Weekly Standard report.

Writer Stephen Hayes, citing Wisconsin Republicans, reported on Tuesday that the House Budget Committee chief is "strongly considering" a White House bid and has spoken with Republican strategists over the past three months about the prospects for a late-start campaign. Hayes is the author of the 2004 book: "The Connection: How al Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America."

Ryan supporters gained hope last week when the Wisconsin lawmaker told a popular radio host he wasn't satisfied with the current crop of presidential candidates and that the American people deserve someone who can articulate a path out of our nation's debt problems.

"Look, the way I see 2012," Ryan said during an interview with Milwaukee radio host Charlie Sykes, "we owe it to the country to let them choose the path they want our country to take. And I just have yet to see a strong and principled articulation of the kind of limited government, opportunity society path that we would provide as an alternative to the Obama cradle-to-grave welfare state."

Pressed on the subject by Sykes, Ryan kept his position without entirely ruling out the possibility. Sykes reminded him that many people think he should be that person who leads the nation out of our current troubles.

"I keep hearing that," Ryan said. "I'm hoping that people will step up, and I'm hoping that somebody - I can help them fashion this. You know my story and you know my answer, and I haven't changed it. We've got a long way to go. There's 15 months left."

Karl Rove, the chief political strategist for former President George W. Bush, added to the speculation when he told Fox's Sean Hannity that Ryan and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie were seriously revisiting the question.

"I don't think it is the end, though, of the field," Rove said. "I think we are likely to see several other candidates think seriously about getting in. And frankly, they have time to do so."

Ryan is the chief architect of the House Republican budget plan unveiled earlier this year that would have transformed Medicare into a voucher-based system as it dramatically cut government spending.

  • Patrick Tricker

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